Greene County News
SPRING VALLEY – As part of The Tandana Foundation’s year-long campaign commemorating the 10th anniversary of the foundation receiving its non-profit status and celebrating its first decade of changing people’s lives through its work in Ecuador and Mali, Tandana recently organized a 10th anniversary trip for some of its Board of Trustees members and staff members to Ecuador.
This trip provided board and staff members with an opportunity to see the impact that Tandana’s work has had on rural communities, work alongside community members on projects, and celebrate Tandana’s momentous milestone with local friends. Eighteen individuals participated in this celebratory trip. One of the participants was Spring Valley resident and Tandana’s Board President Hope Taft.
“It was wonderful to see the community projects Tandana groups have helped communities accomplish. There was hardly a community that does not have a project or two to show off,” Taft said.
The trip was held from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1. The group stayed at a hotel in the city of Otavalo and spent their days visiting communities that have partnered with Tandana over the years.
The group worked alongside community members on various projects in the communities they visited. In Muenala, the participants helped plant trees to promote reforestation and then joined in a community lunch. In Quichinche, they planted ornamental flowers and bushes at the school garden, and toured one of the health centers Tandana partners with during its Health Care Volunteer Vacations.
They helped paint the community center in Cutambi. After the painting was done, everyone attended a service presided over by a local shaman who blessed the space. After the service, everyone enjoyed a delicious community lunch. Community members and participants cleaned mud from the gutters along the main road in Agualongo.
The trip was filled with numerous celebrations in honor of Tandana’s 10th anniversary. In Tangali, the group participated in a celebration at the community school. Community members in Quichinche put together a grand carnival of student presentations involving dances, speeches and music performances.
A final 10th anniversary party was held in Panecillo on the last day of the trip. This festivity included dancing, food and speeches. Along with the celebrations held in the communities, individuals who collaborated with Tandana joined the group for dinner and shared their stories about working with the foundation.
Along with community workdays and celebrations, presentations about different parts of Tandana’s work were also a big part of this trip. There was a presentation about Tandana’s work in Mali. Tandana’s Scholarship Coordinator and Patient Follow-Up Coordinator both gave presentations about the programs they oversee. Two staff members gave a presentation about working with the communities. Board members also presented on various topics. These topics included teambuilding, teamwork and storytelling.
As busy as they were, the group still had time to see some of the region’s landmarks and natural wonders. They visited the world-renowned Otavalo market, the equator and the Condor Park. They made a delicious traditional Ecuadorian meal at Samyanuy Cooking School and visited the hot springs in Tangali.
The Tandana Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports cross-cultural volunteer opportunities, scholarships, and community projects in highland Ecuador and Mali’s Dogon Country. For more information or to sign-up for a volunteer vacation, please visit www.tandanafoundation.org.